Sometimes low-tech is better than fancy-schmancy VoIP as in this case where ham radios apparently came to the rescue in the Gulf States after Hurricane Katrina... Check out this news about a Congressman looking to protect ham radios.
ISRAEL REINTRODUCES EMERGENCY LEGISLATION ALONGSIDE HAM RADIO OPERATORS WHO HAVE SERVED HUGE ROLE IN RESCUE AFTER KATRINA
When Disaster Strikes, Ham Networks Spring Into Action; Event Features Demonstration of Amateur Radio Emergency Communication
West Babylon, NY- On Monday, Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington) announced the reintroduction of the "Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistency Act" that will help to protect the vital function of amateur radio as an emergency communications and public safety resource. Amateur radio operators have always filled in the gap when other communications systems failed. Hurricane Katrina was no exception.
In the storm's aftermath, operators of amateur, or "ham," radios have been instrumental in helping residents in the hardest hit areas, including saving stranded flood victims in Louisiana and Mississippi. State and local governments, as well as disaster relief agencies, could not possibly afford to replace the services that radio amateurs dependably provide for free. However, the hundreds of thousands of amateur radio licensees face burdensome regulations that make it extremely difficult to provide their public services. "Amateur radio provides a vital public safety communications service to the public at no cost to taxpayers," said Israel.
"So-called 'hams' provide emergency communications when regular channels are disrupted or disabled. State and local governments, as well as disaster relief agencies, could not possibly afford to replace the services that radio amateurs dependably provide for free."
"Amateur radio works in emergencies because we 'hams' are willing and know how to set up emergency stations near the disaster," added Frank Fallon, Hudson-Long Island Division Director of the American Radio Relay League. "Unfortunately if all new housing developments contain deed restrictions forbidding outside antennas there will probably come a time when there will not be enough ham radio operators to help their neighbors and countrymen. Congressman Israel's bill will make sure all American's will have emergency communications should a disaster or a terror attack occur.
The Congressman is doing much to help others understand this problem. Ham radio operators thank him for making sure we can continue to help our neighbors and the country in time of need." Israel's legislation seeks to insure that amateur radio operators are available for emergency communications in all sections of the country, regardless of whether they live in a development, such as a retirement community, or townhouse subdivision. Restrictions against antennas render amateur radio operators unable to utilize their licenses, which in turn may ultimately hinder their emergency communication role during times of disaster or national crisis.